A Message from Sheriff Scott Israel
DIVERSITY IS OUR GREATEST STRENGTH
For nearly 40 years, I’ve personally witnessed Broward grow into the enormous economic engine, tourism hotspot and all-around great place to live that it is today. This tremendous growth and prosperity, no doubt, was fueled by its residents—a vibrant melting pot of diverse people, cultures and communities.
Historically, public safety agencies often failed to adequately resemble the diverse communities they protected, and they struggled to connect with them. This has been an issue nationwide. When law enforcement fails to mirror its diverse communities, it can often cause a breakdown in trust—especially in the aftermath of tragic incidents.
When I first took office in 2013, I directed a significant cultural change within the Broward Sheriff’s Office to prioritize diversity within our ranks. To serve the citizens of Broward to the best of our abilities, we must look like the citizens we police. We must ensure that the deputies on the street protecting our community are also protecting their own community.
Today, the percentage of minorities employed in sworn positions at BSO is proudly greater than the percentage of minorities in Broward County's population as a whole. And that diversity is growing throughout every corner of the agency. BSO has boosted the percentage of black employees by three percent, including law enforcement deputies, where they had been underrepresented in the past. And fire rescue, traditionally nationwide one of the least racially-diverse public safety services, is also becoming more diverse. A majority of the new firefighters hired in the last four years have been a combination of minorities and women. And, impressively, minorities hold senior command positions today – reaching to the highest ranks – throughout BSO.
BSO also proudly employs many strong, dedicated women throughout the agency in sworn and non-sworn positions alike. They play a vital role in all aspects, and their presence at times brings a different and welcome perspective to public safety. We also recognize and celebrate the positive impact of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender personnel within our ranks and appreciate their many contributions to our agency’s successes.
We have diversified BSO by creating a dedicated recruitment team that reaches out to minority communities, including participation in job fairs, in the schools and through other proactive outreach opportunities. We have made great strides and will continue to do so through our hiring process. But make no mistake. Each of these men and women have earned their positions through their hard work and dedication. I will always base personnel decisions on the qualifications of the individual and the skills he or she brings to the job. When you hire or promote the best person for the right position, diversity happens naturally.
There is still work to be done, but I am thrilled at how far we have come. Today, BSO is more inclusive than ever before, and our diverse workforce is building bridges across our multicultural community that is leading to a safer and smarter Broward County.
Sheriff Scott Israel
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